Escape To The City At St. James’s Hotel – Absolutely Fabulous! By Isabel Donnelly
With its perfect location moments from Mayfair, The Royal Academy, Fortnum & Mason and St. James’s Palace, plus its Michelin starred restaurant, it is easy to understand why people say St. James’s Hotel is one of the most desired addresses in London.
On this occasion, I was lucky to not only spend a day with my girlfriend doing what girls like to do – lunching and shopping – but also to spend an evening at the hotel in one of their superior suites. Upon arrival, we were swept swiftly up by private lift to the St. James’s Suite on the seventh floor with magnificent views of the Elizabeth Tower and the Millennium wheel.
The décor immediately puts you in a relaxed mood in a wonderful home-away-from-home setting, complete with designer fireplace and Bose speakers. I jumped into a huge Jacuzzi bath which comes equipped with delicious-smelling Penhaligon’s products, which offered much-needed respite after a long day shopping in nearby Bond Street!
For art lovers, the hotel boasts an impressive private art collection of more than 450 paintings, pictures and sculptures. Called the Rosenstein Collection, this spectacular showcase is a brilliant display of 20th century works from across Europe. With art and pastels adorning the walls, it is truly understated elegance and sophistication.
As cocktail hour beckoned, we headed downstairs for the delicious concoctions on offer at the bar, and also for the popcorn which apparently changes flavour every day. We were told that the one of the hotel’s highlights is their cheese, wine or chocolate masterclasses. Sommelier Christophe Thuilot has extremely trustworthy taste buds and his unconventional pairings give a new twist to the classic cheese board.
In the last few years, London has become arguably the culinary capital of the world, and the hotel’s Michelin starred restaurant, Seven Park Place By William Drabble, certainly enhances that reputation. The smallest Michelin starred restaurant in London, the dining area has been stylishly designed, and the staff here are highly professional. The restaurant recently retained its star for the sixth year running, and William’s menu is influenced by classic French cuisine but made using only the very best British produce. The provenance of each dish is derived from either a local farm or caught fresh from the sea.
We were lucky enough to sample a Menu Gourmand of seven dishes, showcasing William’s new truffle and game inspired menu. The evening included insight into the best way to cook with these fine ingredients from William himself, but also from one of his all-time favourite suppliers, John Houldsworth of Cornvale Food, part of the Gressingham Duck Company.
As delicious as the meat courses – such as marmite of game with truffle – proved to be, special mention must go to the truffle ice-cream port wine reduction dessert, which was mouth-watering! This really was a perfect way to end the evening, and we retired by our private lift to our suite, where I slept like a princess in my sumptuous bed. A memorable stay in a memorable hotel.
In the run-up to Christmas, the hotel is offering the unique opportunity to experience an exclusive tour of London on a horse-drawn carriage whilst enjoying a luxurious overnight stay in a Junior Suite. This is an unmissable chance to discover all that the city can offer, and a bespoke tour can include a trip through one of the Royal Parks, or to Buckingham Palace or Westminster Cathedral. Each tour lasts two and a half hours, and the offer is valid until 30th December 2015, subject to availability, with rates starting from £995.
St. James’s Park
St. James’s Park is an easy stroll from the hotel, where the park’s wildlife officers feed the pelicans every day at 2.30pm. The Serpentine Gallery, which hosts regular events and exhibitions of cutting-edge art and sculpture, is at the far end of the park. You’re also very close to the Institute of Contemporary Arts and, of course, Buckingham Palace.